It’s tradition that we always post, in between Christmas and the New Year, our look back on some of the best, we think, that the year had to offer.
This list, in no particular order, was compiled along with all of our contributors and like all ‘best of’ rankings, it is in no way scientific. Enjoy…
- 4th Digital Signage Conference, Munich. As usual, there were lots of conferences to choose from in 2010 but one in particular stood out head and shoulders above the rest and that was the OVAB Europe / invidis jointly organised 4th Digital Signage Conference held in Munich in October. This conference had everything: great speakers, perfect location, brilliant networking, superb breakout sessions and a truly international audience. At the moment when it comes to conferences there is seemingly no one better than Florian Rotberg and Oliver Schwede from invidis at putting them together and they are most certainly on top of their game. There’s no reason to expect that #DiSCO11 happening shortly in Amsterdam will not be just as good.
- Tom Nix you’re hired. We like making mention of people moves and in 2009 the best hire was a toss up between Jill Lee being grabbed by Zoom Media or Dennis Kuperus being nabbed by Kinetic and this year once again there were a lot of good hires but it came down, same as last year, between a choice of two. Tom Nix being snapped up by Scala (and, as we predicted, quickly promoted thereafter) narrowly beats Tim Bleakley being hired by the board at Ocean Outdoor as CEO.
- Barenaked Ladies. The PRN Upfront held in October in New York the day before the DPAA Media Summit was something to behold. The evening, ostensibly for agencies and advertisers saw 100’s of industry folks enjoy a show that was crisp, short and to the point, backed by interesting facts and figures on the screen, and hosted by actor Jonathan Brooks. Our very own journalistic veteran Gail Chiasson, said “I can truthfully say that it is one of the better ‘selling’ jobs by a company in the ad business that I’ve seen in a long time”. The show was capped by a good half-hour musical performance by The Bare Naked Ladies, who not only got the audience involved in its hit ‘If I Had A Million Dollars’ but also performed a song entirely about PRN and the digital signage advertising business. Stunning stuff.
- SDI Digital Print vs Digital Signage. If there was one single piece of creative at any show anywhere in the world in 2010 which we think summed up what the digital signage industry needs to be doing at their own events and (more importantly) at (related) graphics, sign, mobile, consumer electronic events the world over it was this clever juxtaposition of digital print and digital signage on the SDI Gesellschaft für Medientechnologie mbH stand at #viscomffm Frankfurt.You can see on the left hand side (of the picture here on the right) a traditional (printed) vertical poster. On the right hand side there are three portrait LG screens demonstrating how animation and the moving image can improve the static image to the left of it – the colour of the car on the right hand side changed from yellow to green and pricing information appeared at the bottom, etc. etc.This is simply one of the best comparisons of content we have ever seen. Hats off to Frau Goebel at SDI whose original idea this was and who oversaw the creative process.
- Amscreen. A year ago the only award we would have given to Amscreen was for best scaffolding pole, closely followed by worst LED ticker but oh how times have changed (and no, no money has changed hands). Amscreen were recognised by the industry late in the year picking up three awards: the Retail Systems award for ‘Best use of in-store marketing technology in retail’ for the firm’s digital screen network in BP stores, ‘Digital Signage Manufacturer’ at AV awards and ‘Best Digital Network’ at the POPAI awards. Amscreen, generally have had a pretty fantastic 2010, winning new venues and together with Digicom picking up many new advertisers. Their success and growth has done much to help the industry in the UK. Now’s not the time to do predictions for 2011 but we’d expect Amsceen to have just as much success in continental Europe (especially France and Germany) in the coming 12 months. Whilst we still think they could engineer a better scaffolding pole and ticker we can only salute the work they have done in 2010. Hats off!
- DSE Industry Mixer. For us personally the best thing about DSE in February 2010 was the Industry Mixer put together by Dave Haynes and Pat Hellberg’s Preset Group the evening before Digital Signage Expo proper in Las Vegas.Demonstrating once again how passion from a few individuals, some common sense, a bit of forethought and a fair amount of organisational skills can end up bringing people together to network and have some fun all for the common good. The event was oversubscribed and sold out in less than 24 hours and was attended by a who’s who of the industry. An absolutely superb start for the year.
- ~Sedna touch t6.7. The product name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (that’s probably German engineers for you) and at € 69.500 (USD 89,500) excluding taxes it’s not exactly cheap but this multitouch table system which allows viewing, selecting and editing of photos is our product of the year. Unlike other multi touch installations we have seen it’s not fluff, it’s not incomplete, it’s not a product demo for a show; it’s a proper product being sold to publishing houses and newspapers who want to revolutionise their own image-handling workflow.
- i-Catch Flag. Noritake Itron manufacture easy to read and easy to use high brightness VFD displays and one of their new products, the i-Catch Flag caught our eye this year. In Asia it’s used extensively on a human height pole whereas the glimpses of the product we have seen in Europe at shows are seemingly targeted more at retail which we think is probably not right. It’s a little expensive for retail but in wayfinding we think this demonstrates the way forward – a unique, highly visual, simple digital sign. There are lots of lessons here for folks in our industry putting together vertical solutions. We love it!
- Guinness Pour Your Own Pint. It might only have been played back on a DVD player but this install just goes to show what can be done with the simplest of equipment. Arthur’s Portrait (i.e. Arthur Guinness) is installed alongside ‘pour your own pint tables’ in about 200 bars across Éire. It’s simple and joins Frau Goebel’s Digital Print vs Digital Signage creative as one of the best pieces of creative we have seen all year. We’d love to see Guinness roll this out elsewhere in the world for sure.
- Lawrence Dvorchik. He’s big, he’s brash and he may be hard sometimes to get off the phone but Lawrence Dvorchik was easily our favourite man of 2010. There are a lot of nice folks working the exhibition and conference space (the very nature of their business one suspects) but surely the nicest guy and undoubtedly the best salesman out there is Lawrence Dvorchik. Lawrence’s shows (#CETW nee #KioskCom) are marked by his trademark care and attention.Lawrence’s exhibitors are treated as life long friends as well as customers – they’re never surprised when they are surprised if you know what we mean – at #KioskCom back in Las Vegas in April, all the exhibitors walked in one morning to find good quality T-shirts on their stands for them. At his shows the ice-cream and the beer for the attendees come out early and the networking parties are all part and parcel of what he delivers.Lawrence stamps his personal touch on everyone of his exhibitions and to us it was no real surprise that the DSA chose him to be their trade show partner.
For those of you who are interested you can see that we’ve been doing this ‘Best of’ for some time now 😉